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Will The Rise Of AAA Mobile Gaming Be The Death Of Cloud Gaming?

Will The Rise Of AAA Mobile Gaming Be The Death Of Cloud Gaming

The last few years have seen the promotion of cloud gaming as the future of the industry. For me, it was understandably so. However, the recent rise of AAA games that run smoothly on mobile has forced me to rethink whether cloud gaming is really the future of gaming or just another fleeting trend that will soon be rendered obsolete by true mobile gaming. I will explain!

Will The Rise Of AAA Mobile Gaming Be The Death Of Cloud Gaming

About a decade ago, the difference between the quality of mobile games was a world apart when compared to console or PC games. When I talk about mobile games here, I am strictly referring to games available on smartphones—not games played on handheld consoles.

I actually thought I had seen the epic of graphical fidelity in mobile games when I played a few Telltale series many years ago. However, the stakes have continued to grow higher over the years. With the launch of the iPhone 15, Apple has set a new standard where console games now come to smartphones and offer almost identical experience—at least to the layman’s eyes.

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A few months ago, Ubisoft announced that its new game, Assassin’s Creed: Mirage would also come to iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max—and I am not talking about a watered-down version of the game. The playing experience promised to be the same in every aspect as console games.

A couple of other games have also been announced for the iPhone 15. Mobile gaming has always been a topic that excited gamers, especially those who couldn’t carry their consoles wherever they went. However, a smartphone is a tool that virtually goes everywhere with us.

Mobile gaming was a concept that allowed this category of gamers to take their games wherever they went. It was against this backdrop that cloud gaming became a sensational topic.

The rise of cloud gaming as a solution for mobile gaming

Will The Rise Of AAA Mobile Gaming Be The Death Of Cloud Gaming

AAA games need a lot of processing power. Consoles and PCs are equipped with hardware that offers this processing power. However, some of them still struggle at times which kicks off the loud spinning of the fans to keep things cool.

Considering the small size of smartphones, there was not enough space to stack in that much processing power and slap on a fan to keep things cool. Mobile gaming was proposed as the alternative—and it sounded like a great solution until now.

Since it was previously impossible to deliver high-end gaming experiences to smartphones without frying one chip or another, mobile gaming allowed smartphone users to stream AAA games through the cloud and enjoy the same high-end performance as consoles.

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In cloud gaming, the processing power of the user’s smartphone is irrelevant. They can use really cheap smartphones and enjoy high-fidelity AAA games, as long as they have a fast broadband connection that will allow them to stream the games over the cloud.

What happens here is that there is a giant computer called the cloud gaming server which handles all the processing, and the client (the smartphone) user interacts with the server with the help of a fast broadband connection.

I have not tried cloud gaming before. However, I have watched people that do, and the complaint has always been about the latency. It takes considerably longer for controls to respond when cloud gaming compared to playing locally on a console. The experience gets worse as your Internet speed drops.

Unless you really have a high-speed and steady Internet connection, you will find cloud gaming frustrating. Even with a good network speed, the latency doesn’t totally go away—and this can be costly when playing first-person shooters where precision and speed are the secrets to staying alive.

Why true mobile gaming may upset the cloud gaming model

Will The Rise Of AAA Mobile Gaming Be The Death Of Cloud Gaming

Thanks to the iPhone’s new M2 chip, the AAA experience has now come to smartphones. When you play the new Resident Evil Village on iPad Pro, you will be amazed by how good the game is and how it feels like playing on a console.

Slap your iPhone onto a Backbone One controller and you will think you are playing on a handheld console. The advantage of true mobile gaming is that it removes the restriction of always being online on a fast connection—which is realistically not always feasible for anyone who travels a lot.

“We saw the new M2 chip as a great chance to bring Resident Evil to more players around the world and we’re always happy to have that kind of chance,” Masachika Kawata, one of the producers of Resident Evil Village, told “We were very happy with how powerful [the M2] was as well and what it led us to achieve with this port.”

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Although the price of iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max are still high compared to consoles (not a direct comparison), in a matter of years, I see AAA gaming coming to mid-range phones and tablets too. At that point, it would be hard to see the incentive of streaming games over just purchasing and playing them locally on your smartphones.

While the incentive of streaming games over buying a dedicated console may be glaring, it is less so with smartphones. I believe gamers will be more willing to purchase the game directly on their smartphones rather than paying for a streaming service—which will eventually cost them more in streaming subscription and data charges.

Cloud gaming is not entirely useless for now

Will The Rise Of AAA Mobile Gaming Be The Death Of Cloud Gaming

While the incentive of cloud gaming over mobile gaming is shrinking, there is still a place for cloud gaming as a business model. Until there comes a time when games will launch across consoles and iOS, gamers who still want to play new releases in real-time will have to either play through consoles or stream the games.

What I have seen at the moment is a situation where games are gradually being ported to iOS. There are exceptions of course, including the recently launched Assassin’s Creed: Mirage. However, in most cases, new releases will not come to iOS until a later date.

As an emerging platform, it will likely take some learning curve for developers to become accustomed to the new normal. Also, Therefore, the question of “What will play on mobile and what will not play” will always be there in the short haul. However, that is not the case for cloud gaming where every game is playable.

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Well, mobile games are not any cheaper than consoles. Players can download Resident Evil Village for free. However, once players have exhausted the demo section, they have to pay $40 to unlock the full game. There is another $20 price tag for players to unlock the DLC. These prices are at par with the console version of the game. The big question now is whether gamers will be willing to pay the same price for mobile versions of AAA games as they will for console games.

So, do you think the iOS version of AAA games should be cheaper than the console version? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.

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